Ferry route cuts go ahead in April

BC Ferries sailing reductions will go ahead largely as announced last year, with some "refining" to come

BC Ferries is examining its major routes from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island in search of further savings

VICTORIA – BC Ferries sailing reductions to save $18.9 million will go ahead largely as announced last year, with some “refining” to come after hearing public concerns, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Wednesday.

Stone released the final report on consultation with coastal communities, confirming that despite public objections, low-utilization sailings on minor routes across the system will be stopped by April 28. Final schedules are to be released by the end of March.

Stone said some routes have the option of eliminating mid-day sailings so they can retain early-morning and late evening routes used by people going to work or taking in events. BC Ferries will meet with community representatives to examine those options, although Stone acknowledged that union contracts restrict possible savings from splitting up the service day.

Surveys showed most opposed, but seniors will lose their long-standing free ride on Monday through Thursday sailings. BC Ferries will also go ahead with a pilot program of slot machines on one of the major routes, another idea panned by most of the public.

Stone said “tough decisions” were necessary to maintain the long-term viability of the ferry service, which has seen declining ridership, rising fares and a federal and provincial subsidy that reached $200 million this year.

“None of this should come as a surprise,” he said.

Stone cited examples of unsustainable ferry service, including a Monday night sailing from Skidegate to Alliford Bay that averages one passenger and one vehicle.

NDP ferry critic Claire Trevena said cutting mid-day sailings to save morning and evening runs isn’t much of a solution, because it shifts traffic to peak times where ferries may be overloaded.

“It’s going back to communities to say, OK, do you want to lose your left hand or your right hand,” Trevena said.

The only significant route change announced as a result of public objections is an increase of the summer sailing from Bella Coola to Bella Bella from one run a week to three. BC Ferries is going ahead with elimination of the run from Port Hardy to the central coast, which has been marketed as a circle tour from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island to the B.C. Interior.

BC Ferries issued a statement saying it will announce another customer response survey next week.

The government’s consultation report is posted here.

 

Just Posted

Tardi and team playoff bound in junior curling worlds tonight

Friday night Team Canada’s men’s team faces off against Norway, hoping to secure a spot in the finals

Langley’s Hong takes silver in Winter Games vault

The Langley athlete completed a tricky move in competition to clinch the podium.

Injured nurse back in the saddle after horse riding accident

Keya Milaire has been recovering from an accident that occurred on May 24.

Virtual reality comes to Aldergrove

The library hosted a “Virtual Reality Day” Thursday as a part of a strategy to promote tech-literacy.

Portable heaters caused spike in Chilliwack fire calls

Check on heaters to make sure they’re not too close to combustibles, Chilliwack Fire officials say

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read